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How Not To Launch a Gadget 160

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-would-not-like-to-subscribe-to-your-newsletter dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Starfish sells itself with this slogan: 'The next biggest thing is the next smallest thing: The world's first ever interactive iPhone and iPad mirroring device on your wrist.' The reality is that building products is hard. Building products with amazing feature sets is harder still. And, as the old saying goes, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. From the article: 'On Thursday morning when the show floor opened, Starfish’s booth was completely empty—no product, no marketing materials, not even any people. Come Friday, various permutations of representatives appeared at the booth intermittently. ... Saturday arrived, but the watch didn’t, at least not at first. After hourly promises of its imminent arrival, a single prototype of the Starfish watch appeared sometime before 1 p.m. My colleague Dan Moren got to the booth before I did, and the Starfish device wasn't working then. It had apparently worked, briefly, in some sense of the word "worked," when a reporter for TUAW visited the booth. ... The sole representative at the booth when I returned wouldn't give his name. What information he did give me didn’t mesh with what [the CEO] had told TUAW. ... "Why did he send you to man the booth if you can’t answer questions about the watch?" I asked the rep. "I’m done talking to you," he said, as he moved to position himself directly in front of my face. His expression had gone from brusque to combative. "Did you hear me? I’m done talking to you." My accompanying colleagues and I took the unsubtle hint. We left the booth.'"
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How Not To Launch a Gadget

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  • by DavidClarkeHR (2769805) <david.clarke@hrg ... a ['ner' in gap]> on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @09:15PM (#42803973)
    Unfortunately, so many companies have bought into the idea that hype - any hype - will lead to funding, which will lead to product development .... which will lead to the product that was being hyped.

    And we keep falling for it ... *sigh*
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @09:17PM (#42803985)

    Having people who have terrible people skills represent your interests usually ends badly. Just ask the LAPD. Or [hated political group]. If you can't manage that, at least bring scantily-clad women to the party... nobody expects them to answer questions about the device, and as a bonus, you'll get a lot of pictures of it. This isn't rocket science...

    • by Macgrrl (762836) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @09:25PM (#42804035)

      If you can't manage that, at least bring scantily-clad women to the party... nobody expects them to answer questions about the device, and as a bonus, you'll get a lot of pictures of it.

      Even in jest, can we not continue to perpetuate this as a good idea for tech expos. And people wonder why it's hard to get women interested in IT.

      • by PessimysticRaven (1864010) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @09:33PM (#42804097)

        If you can't manage that, at least bring scantily-clad women to the party... nobody expects them to answer questions about the device, and as a bonus, you'll get a lot of pictures of it.

        Even in jest, can we not continue to perpetuate this as a good idea for tech expos. And people wonder why it's hard to get women interested in IT.

        If it weren't for the fact that it works, it wouldn't be perpetuated.

        Lowest common denominator love socially-acceptable bags of fat.

        • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:25PM (#42804451) Homepage Journal

          Quite, nerds would never show an interest in a computer game or new electronic gadget unless there's a young woman in a short dress in front of it.

          It's a wonder anyone ever visits websites that aren't porn really.

          • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

            have you watched modern US style TV lately?

            I took a long break from TV and recently had a look again (was traveling and so was hotel bound and resorted to looking at what's on, these days).

            its really IQ-insulting in every single way. very hard to find anything that could keep my interest and didn't talk down to me or assume I was a neanderthal.

            TV has gone to hell and shows no signs of reversing the trend.

            this is a fair yardstick to compare where our 'attention span' sits. and its not a very flattering sta

            • There's never been some golden age where everything on TV was awesome. And there are some superb shows on TV right now, from Breaking Bad to Person of Interest. In fact, I'd say some of the best television ever made has been produced in the last decade or so in the US.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              internet for the populous is not much different.

              Populous didn't have an internet mode. If it had, the populace would surely re-embrace it.

          • by CAIMLAS (41445)

            It's not that nobody would demonstrate interest in the device if there wasn't a pair of tits in a tight dress demoing the device, it's that the common person - nerds included - are more likely to at least take a look at an unknown product from an unknown company if there is said tits + short dress pictures. What other incentive would they have when the company is (basically) just selling yet another futuristic vaporware?

            Unless the product or company is known and can muster interest on the strength of their

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Sorry to break it to you, but sex sells. Always did, always will.

      • by Monstr (31035)

        If you can't manage that, at least bring scantily-clad women to the party... nobody expects them to answer questions about the device, and as a bonus, you'll get a lot of pictures of it.

        Even in jest, can we not continue to perpetuate this as a good idea for tech expos. And people wonder why it's hard to get women interested in IT.

        Perhaps we could increase the percentage of women interested in IT by having scantily clad men at the booths as well. This works on two fronts (or "y fronts" as I prefer to say) - it turns off some straight guys while attracting some women.

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          It is a small vocal set of women that don't like scantily clad women almost as much as men do. By using booth babes, you attract both genders.
        • by tsa (15680)

          Which is exactly the reason why we don't see scantily clad males in booths. They scare away your clientele.

          • by Mark Hood (1630)

            I bet there's a HUGE amount of publicity for the company that has stereotypical 'gamer guys' in speedos cavorting in front of their booth...

            Imagine a half-dozen tubby, hairy guys in tiny shorts posing in front of the latest gadget or game.

            You're welcome.

            • by tsa (15680)

              Oh man! Nightmares will haunt me for a long time now. I do not thank you, unkind sir. ;)

        • Perhaps we could increase the percentage of women interested in IT by having scantily clad men at the booths as well.

          Well, despite that you'd probably have better luck with good looking men dressed in a tailored suit when dealing with women, it still doesn't work that way. Males show a higher degree of impulsive behavior when exposed to scantily clad women which is why it works and that approach is used in advertising. Women might enjoy it but do not show the same impulsive behavior when exposed to sexualized males which is why it is not used as much.

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:15PM (#42804819)

        Even in jest, can we not continue to perpetuate this as a good idea for tech expos. And people wonder why it's hard to get women interested in IT.

        Speaking as a woman in IT, I don't mind. Girls demoing products are not even in the same league as me; They're not going back to work as network admins, programmers, etc. They're there to look good and by extension make the product look good. To me, it's no different than being a cheerleader for a sports team. Would I do it? Probably not. Am I going to judge another woman who does? No. I've met enough aggressive feminists in college that bitch and moan about the objectification of women and get angry when I point out they're just enforcing a different set of values on others. Whether it's a bikini or a burka, the message is the same: You have to conform to others' ideas about your femininity. And that's not cool. If we're a free society, then every woman should feel free to define that for themselves... and if they want to be a cheerleader for Tech Product X, I say, "you go girl." Just don't ask me to do the pom-pom thing... it's not my thing.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You understand that you are a guy, right?

          • by Anonymous Coward

            You understand that you are a guy, right?

            Seriously best comment ever

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by vux984 (928602)

          If we're a free society, then every woman should feel free to define that for themselves...

          Is that what you think 'scantily clad booth babes' are? Its free women deciding for themselves how to define their femininity? Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.

          I'm finding it hard to swallow that there are any women out there looking to define their own femininity for themselves who ended up deciding that the best way to express their femininity is "scantily clad booth babe"

          I'm pretty confident the women who have

          • by dcollins (135727) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:24AM (#42805767) Homepage

            Of course it's about a paycheck, any idiot knows that. So do you get to make decisions for yourself about what is and is not acceptable for you how you make a paycheck? If so, then so should these women, for themselves.

            • by vux984 (928602)

              If so, then so should these women, for themselves.

              Sure, but lets not pretend they are "defining what femininity" is for themselves.

              So do you get to make decisions for yourself about what is and is not acceptable for you how you make a paycheck?

              No not me personally, but as a society yes, that's precisely what we do. For example, we set safety regulations even though there are plenty of people who would take a job that did not meet those safety standards. Should we let companies exploit that too?

              We also pro

              • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @05:22AM (#42806387)

                Sure, but lets not pretend they are "defining what femininity" is for themselves.

                Yes. Let's not let them talk about it. There's a woman here telling you that you're wrong, therefore she must be crazy and thus ignored. Listen asshat, when I say defining it, I didn't say it's easy. I didn't say that it was right. I didn't even comment about the social acceptability of it. What I said was: It's up to me to say what it means. And if I decide it means running around in a miniskirt and pom poms, well... screw you. If I decide it means putting on a burka and hiding my face and body from the world, screw you too. In fact, if I decide it means nothing at all, you guessed it: Screw you.

                Your opinion, sir, is simply not relevant. If a woman has the choice, then she is free. It is when we stop having choices that there's a problem, and your attitude, expressed by putting it down to "as a society" to avoid taking responsibility for it, is what causes the capacity to choose to diminish. Women have bodies. They're not shapeless automatons, but beautifully curved, soft, and all of that. And why shouldn't they be allowed to revel in that?

                It only becomes a problem when other people's sick notions of what 'normal' should be draws others into the kind of behaviors you describe. And nobody is immune to that, not even you, Mr. I-Ask-Myself-Every-Morning-Who-The-Tiger-Is. We all have to deal with our own body image issues, men, women, human. That's just how it is.

                But as long as you have the freedom to choose how you face those circumstances, it's all good. When you start demanding others not have those freedoms because you feel you're "saving them from themselves", well then Sir, you are part of the problem.

                • by vux984 (928602)

                  And if I decide it means running around in a miniskirt and pom poms, well... screw you.

                  And if you decide to do that on your own time, I don't have any criticism of it.

                  Me, if I lived in a world where I didn't need money, I'd still do what I do for a living for the enjoyment of doing it.

                  How many people would get up in the morning, with the actual freedom to decide how they want to spend their time instead of being constrained to get a paycheck, and decide to be a booth-babe?

                  You want to talk about "freedom" f

                  • by chrismcb (983081)

                    You want to talk about "freedom" fine, lets remove the requirement that they collect a paycheck, and see how many of them would freely choose to spend their days as booth babes.

                    Probably more than you think. While they may not choose "booth babes," it isn't for the reason you would think. Booth babes is a long boring job, standing on your feet all day. Many girls probably wouldn't choose to do that, but would still choose to do something similar, for a shorter amount of time. Some girls like to show off their body.

                    • by vux984 (928602)

                      Many girls probably wouldn't choose to do that

                      Nuff said?

                      but would still choose to do something similar, for a shorter amount of time.

                      Like actual modelling? Fashion shows. Magazine covers, cover girl for a lipstick brand, the sort of thing models actually aspire to?

                      But not booth babes.

                      Some girls like to show off their body.

                      And I don't dispute that. However, I will again point out that the cross section of women who like to show off their bodies includes a lot of women who could not get a job as a booth babe

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                If so, then so should these women, for themselves.

                Sure, but lets not pretend they are "defining what femininity" is for themselves.

                Let's not pretend that you're trying to do anything else but define what femininity is for other people.

                The root problem here is that we have created a society in which people must do things they don't want to do for money because if you don't have money they will put you in jail because they can make money doing that and it's easier than fighting violent crime. It isn't objectification of women, it's objectification of humans. This is why I do not take anyone who self-declares as a "feminist" seriously. It

          • by tooyoung (853621)

            And its better hours, working conditions, and pay than their other options

            And how dare someone choose a job based on those factors. Those sluts!

            • by vux984 (928602)

              And how dare someone choose a job based on those factors. Those sluts!

              Sure but lets not pretend they are "defining their own femininity" here. That's all I'm saying.

              And the fact that they are choosing it does not qualify as an endorsement of the job or the working conditions or what it stands for.

              They need money. It pays money. There is nothing deeper than that.

              Just as a guy who takes an under the counter construction job that violates all kinds of labor laws, and all kinds of safety regulation is not makin

          • by wvmarle (1070040)

            Some women can work as programmers or so, others not so much and they choose to work as booth babes.

            Actually that puts women in an advantage over men, as they have more choice of available jobs.

          • by chrismcb (983081)
            You know, some women enjoying doing just that.
        • Just don't ask me to do the pom-pom thing... it's not my thing

          that must be the other poster, then; that goes by the handle 'girlInATrainingBra'.

          (not kidding)

        • "In my heart, I think a woman has two choices: Either she's a feminist or a masochist."
          -- Gloria Steinem

          Which one does your post describe? How do attitudes like your hurt the choices of other women, and betray the women who got you these choices in the first place?

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            How do attitudes like your hurt the choices of other women, and betray the women who got you these choices in the first place?

            You want to force women to conform to a standard and you're arguing that someone else is betraying them by refusing to do so? Irony, it's not just for your mom any more.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @06:43AM (#42806707)

          I agree that women should have the freedom to use their appearance and sexuality how they please, and I wouldn't go up to a model and tell her she's doing something wrong. However, I still think it's fair to call for the tech industry to stop hiring models to advertise their products. It might seem like there is a contradiction here, but it's because of the distinction between the morality of individual rights and the morality of cultural trends.

          There are plenty of things in life that are not individually morally wrong, but when present in general trends, can cause a lot of damage. To give you a really basic example, consider a joking insult about your weight. If you had a single friend who occasionally joked that you're fat, (but you joked back that she's ugly), it would probably be okay. If every single person you met joked that you're fat, you'd probably get a complex. Likewise, a single flame over the Internet doesn't really mean anything, but when an Internet mob forms, even tough-guys crumble and cry. The issue of racism and art is full of examples like this. There are a vast array of films, songs and music videos which, when taken in isolation, are perfectly fine. Take Jackie Brown for example. Spike Lee thought that film was racist, and Tarantino naturally disagreed. They were both correct. On the one hand, Jackie Brown has no racist intent, it joyfully plays with the tropes of blacksploitation cinema, and only uses slightly cartoonish characters as a way to evoke the films it references and entertain the audience in the same way those movies did. On the other hand, Samuel L. Jackson's character embodies a trope that enforces a negative stereotype about black people. He is a barely fleshed out racist cartoon character. Taken individually the movie isn't particularly racist. However, when you look at hollywood movies as a whole, you can't help but notice that "ghetto" mannerisms almost always appear on a violent or stupid character.

          It's the same thing with getting female models to advertise products. Paying women to look attractive isn't necessarily a bad thing, and I certainly don't feel like it should be banned in a free society. However, I feel like the commercial exploitation of desire belongs in places like the fashion and sex industries, where there is a decent reason for them to be there. It doesn't belong in the tech industry. I would like companies to stop using models to advertise their products. And I would like for individuals to respond to that kind of advertising more reasonably. Instead of allowing themselves to be sexually manipulated, I would like people to look on this kind of advertising as unprofessional and desperate.

          Really, in terms of legal rights and gender issues, things are pretty good. However, there's still a host of battles to fight over cultural norms. These battles are much harder, because you can point to a trend and say "this is wrong", and people can look at each individual case and say "well there's nothing particular wrong about this one" and other people can say "stopping people from doing this would be wrong" and they'd all be right. Worse still, you will get people who campaign about cultural trends using absolute moral terms, which actually damages their own cause. Aggressive feminists have done this to you over the issue of objectification. You now think of objectification as a non-issue, even though it is still a real problem. Would you really not prefer it if female sexuality was used a bit less in advertising, if movies had more genuinely smart or complex female characters or if there were fewer computer games where men are covered from head to toe in armour and women look like two beach balls on a matchstick in a shiny bikini? In an ideal world, art containing hypersexual female objectification would still exist, but it would be kept away from developing minds and would be balanced out by hypersexual male objectification and more complex realistic representations of women.

          Honestly, I wish more smart people were able to see that there are s

          • by Applekid (993327)

            So why is it that men are free, nay, celebrated, to exploit their bodies in a chosen profession (pro sports, dangerous jobs for which women don't bother to apply), yet women that exploit their bodies (modeling, sex work) reflects poorly on society? Both are objectification, both are exploitative, and both represent some natural attributes and potential that makes them desirable.

            If you're born with the natural aptitude towards intelligence, choose to become educated (education is compulsory in the 1st world,

          • by chrismcb (983081)

            I agree that women should have the freedom to use their appearance and sexuality how they please, and I wouldn't go up to a model and tell her she's doing something wrong. However, I still think it's fair to call for the tech industry to stop hiring models to advertise their products

            Why? Who can advertise the product then? Only users? Only people who created the products? Dogs? Or maybe a pet sock?
            Do you know what models do? Their main job? THEY ADVERTISE PRODUCTS. Some of those products are for the tech industry, some of those products are for other industries.

      • It's always hard when I get women, It's rather ineffective unless it is.
    • ...and his lack of personal hygiene, confrontational nature, total lack of empathy or ability to understand or identify with any viewpoint except his own, complete obliviousness to how he comes off to others (remember the pages-long travel missives?)...

      ...I'm modded "flamebait" or "troll." Heaven forbid there are people who point out the man's numerous flaws. Ordinarily it'd be ad hominem, but he's a spokesman and figurehead, which makes every single one of the points above completely relevant.

      • by Microlith (54737)

        If only people didn't do so every time a comment of his is brought up for the sole purpose of derailing any actual useful discussion. It's done deliberately to drive discussion into the ground and ensure that a possibly useful conversation does not take place simply because there are people far more concerned about spreading hatred of the man than doing something useful.

        he's a spokesman and figurehead, which makes every single one of the points above completely relevant.

        Only in the context of discussing him

        • It's done deliberately to drive discussion into the ground and ensure that a possibly useful conversation does not take place simply because there are people far more concerned about spreading hatred of the man than doing something useful.

          Right, because everyone who mentions RMS's flaws is doing it to "drive discussion into the ground". It couldn't possibly be that those people are tired of RMS representing their movement, or that there are other reasons. Nice try, though.

          It is not "hatred of the man"

      • It's very rarely relevant to discussions as most discussions aren't about RMS as ambassador/spokesman/figurehead, but about the issues that he is raising awareness of.

        What you do is more like always bringing up Einstein's unruly hairstyle in every discussion about relativity.
    • Having people who have terrible people skills represent your interests usually ends badly.

      Sounds like that was only the start of their problems. The fact that what they were lying about what they were selling and how they were selling it is probably a bigger problem.

      This seems like an even flimsier scam than the phantom console. It boggles the mind that these people get anyone to give them money or have money long enough to pay for the booth. They evidently hadn't even gone to kickstarter yet. Seems like anyone can get a little money from kickstarter.

  • by hduff (570443)

    iPhone-ista Outrage!

  • by DogDude (805747) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @09:42PM (#42804165) Homepage
    Surprise, surprise. It was funded, at least in part, by Kickstarter. Kickstarter businesses, by definition, are almost always going to be the worst of the worst simply because of the nature of funding. The company founders couldn't borrow the money, they couldn't get anybody to invest, so they ultimately end up on Kickstarter, begging for handouts from the clueless general public. Of course, some Kickstarter projects are run by intelligent, capable people who use Kickstarter because some kind of principles that they may have, but the vast majority of the projects are there because the owners didn't have any other options.

    Personally, I see it as a real karmic kick in the ass to the people starting these "projects" every time one falls over. Inevitably, they're people who think they've got the next idea for the next big Apple accessory, but they pooh-pooh the mundane details of engineering, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution, all of which they look down their noses at (an attitude often espoused by Slashthink, too). As an actual business owner, that provides actual services for people, and deals with actual, physical products, I have to smile every time I see one of these holier-than-thou fools fall flat on their proverbial faces because they can't figure out the nuts and bolts of running a business.

    Running a business is hard. It's very hard. Coming up with an idea for some new gee gaw is about 1% of the effort required to do something like this project. The other 99% is the fun, yet very difficult business-y stuff that these kinds of people try to ignore.
    • by mcl630 (1839996) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:01PM (#42804285)

      According to TFA, they are *going to* use Kickstarter to fund the project. It's not even on Kickstarter yet.

      With the bad press, they'll have a really hard time raising those funds (assuming people take the 2 minutes to actually google the company before giving their money).

    • by LordLucless (582312) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:45PM (#42804599)

      Surprise, surprise. It was funded, at least in part, by Kickstarter. Kickstarter businesses, by definition, are almost always going to be the worst of the worst simply because of the nature of funding.

      So what you're saying is the nature of the funding determines the quality of a venture? Not the product, not the experience of the people running it, the funding source. Why not check the tea-leaves or the entrails of your pet chook?

      The company founders couldn't borrow the money, they couldn't get anybody to invest

      Assumption. it is not necessary to seek other types of funding before going to Kickstarter

      begging for handouts

      It's not a hand-out when you're getting something in return. I guess companies like Rockstar and Bioware are asking for handouts when they offer pre-orders too?

      from the clueless general public

      Unlike you educated business types. Glad to see elitism is alive and well.

      Personally, I see it as a real karmic kick in the ass to the people starting these "projects" every time one falls over.

      You enjoy seeing other people fail because they didn't sell their soul to a banker to finance a new idea. Gotcha.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        As much as taking joy in other people failing makes him an ass, he did not say that the nature of funding determines the quality of a venture. He said that the quality of the venture determines funding.
      • by DogDude (805747)
        So what you're saying is the nature of the funding determines the quality of a venture? Not the product, not the experience of the people running it, the funding source.

        Yes, that is what I'm saying. There are millions of businesses that have been successfully started without begging for money. I started mine with a credit card, and some personal loans. If you aren't willing to put your own personal assets on the line, and nobody else is willing to put their assets on the line, then yes, it's probably
        • "If you aren't willing to put your own personal assets on the line, and nobody else is willing to put their assets on the line, then yes, it's probably either a bad idea, or the people starting it are incompetent."
          Kickstarter is the very definition of 'other people willing to put their assets on the line'. Whether funded by kickstarter or a loan from a bank any idea that gets funded by definition has people willing to put their assets on the line.

          Or is it only big name bank assets that count in your worldvi

        • I started mine with a credit card, and some personal loans.

          Well, I'm glad you certainly never went "begging for money" then, and that people weren't giving you money when you didn't have a product.

          If you aren't willing to put your own personal assets on the line, and nobody else is willing to put their assets on the line, then yes, it's probably either a bad idea, or the people starting it are incompetent.

          So, a Kickstarter user's money doesn't count as an asset. It's only a real business if you run the risk of your parents' losing their house when you fail.

          Begging for money before there is a product or service and promising to deliver (maybe) is called a hand-out.

          What product or service did you have before you got your credit card and loan again? Why did you get those lines of credit? Could it possibly have been on the promise to deliver (maybe) interest on the loan?

          It takes an extra low IQ to give money to people in exchange for a non-legally binding promise of goods or services.

          Damn straight

        • by chrismcb (983081)

          There are millions of businesses that have been successfully started without begging for money.

          VERY few business have successfully started without begging for money.

          But, to be clear, I enjoy seeing these people fail because they generally give little to no consideration towards actually creating a viable business.

          The point behind kickstarter isn't necessarily to start a business. It is to crowd fund a project. You know the kind, "Hey if we get 10 people to go in together, we can get this done." I'm not saying people aren't using it to start a business, but I would claim that most aren't.

    • This has nothing to do with Kickstarter, yet.

    • Kickstarter businesses, by definition, are almost always going to be the worst of the worst simply because of the nature of funding. The company founders couldn't borrow the money, they couldn't get anybody to invest, so they ultimately end up on Kickstarter, begging for handouts from the clueless general public.

      Just scratch the surface a little bit, and you'll find that 99% of the kickstarters projects that get funded in the first place are started by people that already have a very large audience and an existing reputation of some kind.

      Now I'm not saying that the clueless general public won't invest in those types of projects, but generally speaking, the clueless general public tend not to invest in a project unless many other people have invested in it already. That's why having a core audience that already bel

    • by Tauvix (97917)

      I will say that having stayed away from most technology related kickstarters that I've actually had really really good luck with the board games and RPG modules. I've backed about 20 projects, and received the items so far from about a third of them. The games I've received have been good quality and generally lots of fun. Of the remaining 2/3 a few are late, but have been very upfront about unexpected delays and what they're doing to resolve problems. The remainder are still being very communicative, but h

    • by Roogna (9643)

      On the flip side, the Pebble watch (http://getpebble.com) was also funded on Kickstarter, and last news I saw said that the first batches were arriving for backers.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      kickstarter is better than selling shares or borrowing money.

      however.. it seems they got some sucker to give them some cash on the basis that they're going to get more cash on kickstarter..

    • by chrismcb (983081)
      Why the hate for kickstarter? Some projects succeed, some projects fail. Whether or not they are funded by kickstarter.
  • by Media_Scumbag (217725) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @09:49PM (#42804207)
    A device called "starfish" [urbandictionary.com] turns out to be vaporware? Color me surprised.
  • by Georules (655379) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @09:59PM (#42804263)
    Am I the only one a little concerned by how intent Lex Friedman (author of TFA) was on getting information from the representative that clearly didn't know anything. He took pictures of the booth while he waited around for the CEO to show.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:12PM (#42804357)

      Without being so annoying as to be told to f-off, he wouldn't have a story. So he does seem to be trying to get a reaction.

      As it is, it's just a product planned for launch that wasn't ready to launch. Well that's same as usual for new products. Once you realize the guy there isn't a rep with any knowledge, hassling him for knowledge you know he doesn't have, is designed to illicit a negative response.

      Perhaps it was a slow show and he had no story.

    • by Rizimar (1986164)
      Considering this was a booth for what sounds like an interesting product, it's perfectly reasonable to expect someone or something to be at that booth to illustrate what it is, exactly. Having an empty booth is a waste of floor space and of people's time.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's a /booth/ at a /show/. How the heck is it creepy that the guy watching the chairs of the no-show company has people viewing the show ask him a lot of pointed questions?

      So no, I'm not concerned at all. Starfish hyped a product for the public market, and rented a frigging booth at Macworld. And, holy cow, Lex Friedman "Senior Writer, Macworld" took time try to find WTF was up. No, it'd be a concern if that didn't happen. Good for Lex.

      Seriously, why are you bothered by that? Please expand.

      Was it this: "wh

    • Yes, you're the only one. A booth is effectively a public face for the company/product and a representative should, by definition, represent the company/product. Taking photos of the booth isn't at all creepy - taking photos of the toilets would be creepy.
    • Had we not been talking about a product expo, where the point is to get attention, yes. If Lex included pictures from his car outside the guy's house, that would be over the line.

      It said he was interested in the product initially. At some point he probably was more interested in how weird the spectacle was going. Then at some point he realized it was a scam and he could prevent at least some people on kickstarter from wasting their money.
    • Well... I was doing my job, and I definitely don't feel like I harassed the guy impolitely. He told me the CEO would be return. When I came back and he said the CEO wouldn't return, I asked him why the CEO had him manning the booth if he didn't know the answers to questions folks would have about the product. That's when he threatened me. I definitely didn't take the 20/20 investigative reporter approach of trying to get a rise out of him. I actually wanted the answer to the question.
      • by Georules (655379)
        Wow, didn't expect to get a reply from the author. I just got a bit of a feeling that you were trying to get a rise out of him and stalking the booth. My apologies for misinterpreting your intentions.
  • Now the Pebble has definitely caught my eye as a way to put your phone on your wrist like this: http://getpebble.com/ [getpebble.com]

  • Looks awfully like this here thing http://getpebble.com/ [getpebble.com] but I was only going off the look from the photo in the first link. Still, it's a poor showing on their part to not have anything to ...show. I hope Pebble goes better, or at least something decent in both price and and function.

    Also, if they were rude, you should have just gone away - don't give them the time or exposure; just let them be dicks and lose everyone's respect.

  • What's new about a wrist phone? Swatch had the Swatch Talk wrist phone [gizmodo.com] in 1998. Samsung had one in 2001. If you want one right now, there are several on Amazon. [amazon.com] They're cheap, too; well under $100 for an unlocked phone.

    There's even a full Android device in a watch size announced. [neptunepine.com] This thing can supposedly make phone calls, shoot video, browse the web, get your location, etc.

  • Looks very much like a MetaWatch [metawatch.org] SDK to me. Anyone with some programming skills can slap together something like that -or something that actually works in some way- for $200.
  • Bye bye (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scotts13 (1371443) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @01:49AM (#42805631)

    "Did you hear me? I’m done talking to you."

    And thus, with nine words, a company dies. They clearly have no manufacturing capability, little-or-no software development capability, and have done no market research. The have a half-baked idea, and a part of a marketing plan. Probably saw a piece of existing hardware, and figured they could customize it to do something different - and were wrong. There have been successful products that launched way too soon, but not with THAT kind of press. Done for, now.

  • How can a company be _so_ ignorant of it's own abilities.
    I mean the main problem is getting a proper case and interfacing with iOS. The rest is just a wristwatch sized computer with Bluetooth. Give a good engineer some time and it'll find a way to resize the screen. It probably won't be perfect, but hey what do you expect?

    The problem inside those companies is that three problems come together.
    First of all, you have people to stupid to realise that they are wrong.
    Second, the people who know a bit more, don't

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